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Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?
After avoiding talk about sex from the pulpit for years, pastors are now speaking out against porn.
August 21st, 2011
01:00 AM ET

Can the Christian crusade against pornography bear fruit?

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - He is a good Christian, Michael is telling his two therapists. He goes to church most Sundays. He’s a devoted husband and father of two daughters.

“But when I would leave on business trips,” he says, “I knew I was going to get to be someone else.”

“Prostitutes, porn - I took anything I wanted.”

Sitting on a comfortable, worn couch, Michael glances out the window and sees a reflection of himself set against the parking lot of this suburban Atlanta office building. He fidgets, runs his fingers over his closely cropped blond hair and straightens his green tennis polo. He clears his throat.

Above his head hangs a poster covered in words describing feelings - angry, anxious, sad. On it is a big yellow cross.

Therapists Richard Blankenship and Mark Richardson wear solemn but empathetic expressions. Certified counselors and Christian ministers, they tell him they know how to listen and nod for him to continue.

“I’ve had a record of purity since March when I confessed to my wife,” says Michael, whose name has been changed by CNN.com to protect his privacy. “No porn, no masturbation.”

“Awesome,” Richardson says, leaning forward in his chair. “God knows you’re trying.”

This is Michael’s second week at “Faithful and True – Atlanta” a 16-week counseling program that, like dozens of others like it around the country, combines traditional psychotherapy with the Bible in an attempt to treat addictive behavior.

Blankenship, a devout Christian who once struggled with sexual abuse, says his own ordeal has helped him to treat and “graduate” nearly 500 Christian men and women with similar addictions in the last five years.

He says he has helped people achieve what he calls “sobriety,” which means resisting porn and lustful thoughts.

Though controversial in secular circles, much of the evangelical Christian world has been cheering this relatively new kind of therapy. Many believers, including many Christian leaders, consider it a powerful tool for fighting what they say is one of the modern church’s biggest problems: porn addiction.

A crusade is born

Not long ago, it was unheard of for a pastor to talk about sex from the pulpit.

Today, clergy are talking about porn.

Many evangelical pastors say they don’t have a choice. The Internet has made porn unavoidable; it’s everywhere. And porn, they say, leads to a lack of intimacy in marriage, threatening the biblical mandate to get and stay married.

In the past few years, Christian leaders have established online ministries to tackle the problem, hosting anti-porn podcast sermons and Web chats. The popular evangelical blog Crosswalk.com recently ran an article headlined “How many porn addicts are in your church?”

Christian publishers, meanwhile, have produced a wave of recent books on the subject, including popular titles like “Porn-Again Christian,” “Secret Sexual Sins: Understanding a Christian's Desire for Pornography” and “Eyes of Integrity: The Porn Pandemic and How It Affects You.”

Evangelical pastor Jeremy Gyorke recently came forward to talk about how porn has affected him. In July, the 32-year-old confessed his porn addiction in a sermon at Wyandotte Family Church, just outside Detroit.

“I’m part of a generation of Christians who grew up keeping your mouth shut about your personal life,” he says. “Goodness no, we didn’t talk about sex.”

“But now that we have a little say in the attitude of the church, we’re taking a different approach,” Gyorke continues. “We’re putting it all out there, saying you don’t have to keep secrets. Come forward and admit that you’ve made a mistake, and you can be healed.”

Gyorke said he confessed to his congregation after his wife caught him looking at porn and told him it made her feel inadequate. She wanted him to seek help and to be transparent as a man of God.

Gyorke ultimately decided that viewing any porn, even once or twice, is a problem for believers.

“It’s like a gateway drug,” he says. “You can’t just have a little look. If you look at porn, you’ve already given your heart and spirit away to someone who isn’t your wife.”

As he wrote his sermon on the matter, Gyorke felt tremendous anxiety. “I thought it would make or break me to them as their pastor,” he says.

But his flock reacted with empathy and support. Several congregants approached him afterward to say that they, too, felt that they’d acted against God by looking at porn.

Different interpretations

Though the words “porn” and “masturbation” don’t appear in the Bible, Gyorke believes the biblical verdict is clear. “Sexual immorality is mentioned a lot in the Bible, and that is what porn is,” he says.

He quotes the Gospel of Matthew: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

“Porn is lust, and lust is a sin,” the pastor said.

Many religious scholars say that such a view reflects just one of many interpretations.

“One school of biblical study says that desire is a problem and needs to be monitored as a serious threat to salvation,” says Boston University theology professor Jennifer Wright Knust.

But Knust points to scriptural passages that appear to endorse sexual desire, including the Song of Solomon, a poem that some scholars say depicts two lovers graphically describing each other’s anatomy in an ode to unmarried sex.

“This is not new. It’s a cherry-picking of scripture used to address what’s happening right now in popular culture,” says Knust, author of the recent book “Unprotected Texts: The Bible’s Surprising Contradictions on Sex and Desire.” “The new thing is that it’s being used by so-called Christian therapists.”

Knust says the anti-porn trend in Christian therapy reflects new questions in broader society about what constitutes an appropriate relationship, about gender roles and rules, and about what marriage really means.

“People are concerned and confused, and want to know if God is speaking to us in our sexual roles,” she says. “Can we find answers in divine revelation? People have always hoped that there can be certainty in the Bible.

“There is no certainty,” she says. “It’s interpretation.”

XXX churches

A few weeks after delivering his confessional sermon, Gyorke organized a Sunday event at his church intended to help keep congregants away from pornography.

He gave out study guides with scriptural verses related to lust and showed a slick video from XXXChurch, the main Web-based group for the Christian anti-porn movement.

The video opens with a mock-pharmaceutical infomercial for a product called “Lustivin.” It raves about how wonderful the drug can make you feel in the short term but then lists some major side effects: premature relational difficulty, divorce, shallow relationships.

Craig Gross, a young pastor from California, co-founded XXXChurch.com in 2001. Its URL was meant to snag people who were surfing the Web for dirty pictures.

“Ten years ago, when I wanted to bring the church up to date, everyone was like, ‘This won’t work. People will be confused about what you’re doing,’ ” Gross says.

“It was controversial at the time, but the church is always behind the times,” he says. “We should have had a XXXChurch.com in the late 1990s if we really wanted to get ahead of this problem.”

The site was slow to catch on for its first few years, but now gets millions of clicks a day from IP addresses around the globe, Gross said.

This year, XXXChurch sponsored Porn Sunday, a national anti-porn event that included hundreds of churches across the country screening a video starring Matt Hasselbeck, who's now quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, and other Christian NFL stars.

Soundbites from the players speak to the struggle between porn and faith.

“Sex is an awesome thing that God designed,” Hasselbeck says in the video.

Jon Kitna, a Dallas Cowboys quarterback, talks about surfing the Web and getting deeper into porn sites. “[You] see this [link] and it leads you to a link to this … ” he says. “And pretty soon, I’m into a world that I never really knew existed.”

For $7 a month, XXXChurch offers porn-detection software that fires off automatic e-mail alerts to a subscriber and his or her chosen “faith buddy,” a kind of whistle-blowing system designed to keep Christians from going astray.

Achieving “sobriety”

But some Christians have gone much further in their attempts to tackle porn addictions, literally rearranging their lives.

When Jeff Colon, a self-described recovering porn addict in Kentucky, confessed his addiction to his wife, she told him to get help or find a divorce attorney.

It was the early 1990s. Christian sex addition counseling was unheard of. But Colon’s pastor - to whom he’d also confided - called other church leaders and learned of a Christian counseling retreat called Pure Life Ministries, a kind of Christian compound that includes a chapel and all-male dormitory on 44 acres in western Kentucky.

Today, Colon is the president of Pure Life, which he credits with saving his marriage.

He says the program has cured thousands of men of their porn addictions through a six- to 12-month program of one-on-one or group therapy sessions.

The live-in program costs $175 a week. Men must move to the campus and live alone, with wives having the option of talking to Pure Life counselors by phone. Most insurance plans don’t cover Pure Life - a moot concern, really, because most program participants quit their jobs to relocate.

That’s what Colon, who was working as an elevator repairman, did. “I don’t regret it for a second,” he says. “It was a hard time not because I lost my job or had to move from my family. It was a tough time because I had nearly lost my connection with God. That is what’s most important in life.”

Pure Life’s curriculum relies heavily on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, which stresses that if one lives “by the Spirit,” he will not “gratify the desires of the flesh.”

The scripture goes on to say that those who gratify the flesh “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Women are not allowed on campus during the initial phase of treatment.

“People who don’t follow Christ aren’t going to get what I’m saying, but it was like intense Bible study that helped me understand how selfish I am as a sinner,” Colon says. “Basically, you have time to talk to God, and for him to show you the way to sobriety. And I’ve been sober for 17 years.”

For Colon, sobriety means abstaining from looking at porn, masturbating and performing any other sex act not involving his spouse.

“You learn that lust is just a state of mind,” he says. “If you lust for someone other than your wife, what you do is replace that lust with prayer. And you have a heart change.”

Indeed, Colon says that God was central to his recovery.

“I know secular people don’t get it,” he says. “But if I had a sponsor who was just another person, a person who is fallible, telling me to stay clean, it’s just not as powerful as God telling me that.”

“Women … drowning in this addiction”

Men aren’t the only ones who have started thinking that way about porn.

According to the creator of accountability2you, a Web-based service that dumps all the pornographic material someone surfs into his or her spouse’s e-mail inbox, roughly half of his 10,000 monthly subscribers are women.

“The Christian Church has started to realize that we’re sexual, too, and we are just as visually stimulated as men and we look at porn,” said Crystal Renaud, author of the recent book “Dirty Girls Come Clean,” a memoir about her own addiction to porn.

For the past year, the 26-year-old with punky-streaked hair has led Christian women’s porn addiction counseling sessions. Her Dirty Girls Ministries website has 450 members.

“I’ve met women who will lock themselves in a room and look at porn all day, ignoring their kids or their jobs,” she says. “I feel like I can relate because that’s all I cared about, getting my high. There are so many more women out there drowning in this addiction, you have no idea.”

Though there are few statistics to support Renaud’s claims about the extent of the problem, Christian media outlets like Today’s Christian Woman have recently run stories about women consuming porn, often theorizing that the habit starts with explicit romance novels.

Renaud has received a sexual addiction counseling certification from the American Association of Christian Counselors, though she is not licensed by secular organizations like the American Psychological Association. She promotes a five-step program she’s devised called SCARS - Surrender, Confessional, Accountability, Responsibility, Sharing - which encourages women to confess to each other about their desire to look at porn as a means of saying no to it.

In her memoir, Renaud writes about becoming a chronic masturbator and porn addict at age 10, after stumbling upon a dirty magazine in her brother’s room. It was a confusing, scary experience, she writes.

“My mother made it very clear what the parameters were when it came to sex, and there wasn’t a discussion beyond that,” Renaud said. She describes her relationship with her father as rocky, but wouldn’t elaborate.

In high school, Renaud was a leader in her Christian youth group, but she was also interested in porn. “I felt so bad and I wanted to stop looking at porn because that wasn’t what the Bible instructed,” she says, “and I knew God didn’t want me doing that.”

When she was 18, Renaud arranged to have sex for the first time at a hotel with a person she met in a Christian chat room. She says she went to the hotel but broke down in tears in her room and left before meeting the man.

“That was my rock bottom,” she says. “I remember being there and sobbing, thinking, ‘What am I doing risking my life to meet someone at a hotel I don’t even know?’”

Renaud said that she depends on God to keep her clean and that God is a kind of sponsor or monitor. When she wants to look at porn or masturbate, she and God have a kind of conversation, and the desire passes.

A crusade’s critics

The father of Christian-based porn and sex addiction therapy has a word for this “pray-away” method of sobriety.

“Hooey.”

Dr. Mark Laaser pioneered the Christian response to porn and sex addiction in the 1980s and chides counseling centers like Pure Life for what he says is their near-total reliance on prayer.

“Alcoholics don’t wish really hard to not be addicted to alcohol,” he says in a phone interview from his busy therapeutic practice in suburban Minneapolis. “The field of addiction is much deeper than opening your Bible.”

He’s pleased that more Christians are openly talking about pornography and sex addiction, but Laaser says he’s concerned that some Christian leaders and therapists are confusing sexual sin with sex addiction.

“Men come dragging into my office because their wives have caught them masturbating and labeled them addicts, or they’ve had one affair and they are now looking to have their affair excused by addiction,” he says.

“One affair doesn’t mean you’re a porn addict,” Laaser says. “Looking at porn occasionally doesn’t make you a porn addict. Those may be poor decisions, but they are not necessarily caused by clinical addiction.”

Porn is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar industry in America alone, banking at least 10 times what it did in 1970, the first time the U.S. government evaluated the retail value of the nation’s then-fledgling hardcore film, television and retail market.

During that same decade, Laaser had become the porn industry’s ideal customer. He was constantly on the hunt for it.
As a devout Christian, he spent a lot of energy trying to keep his porn a secret, especially from his wife, Debbie. His guilt distanced him from her emotionally, he says, and began eroding their relationship.

At the time, there was virtually no established psychological research, or mainstream therapy, for sex addiction. So Laaser reached out to secular 12-step programs, using Alcoholics Anonymous’ framework as a guide to reaching what he called sexual “sobriety,” abstaining from sex outside of marriage and avoiding masturbation.

“I remember thinking I wish my problem were drinking because I could get help easier,” Laaser said.

By the late ’80s, Laaser says, he was on the road to sobriety, combining therapeutic methods he’d learned while pursuing a doctorate in psychology from the University of Iowa and a divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary.

“It began to seem very evident to me that secular therapy does not work as effectively for Christians,” he said. “And that’s because the secular world … to us as Christians, seems less moral. Sex is everywhere in secular society - television, film, billboards. It’s just so much a part of life that it is excused.

“Christians just aren’t going to seek out a secular therapist - they won’t seek therapy at all if they don’t have some aspect of Christianity woven into their treatment.”

In 1992, Laaser authored the first book on Christian sexual addiction, titled “The Secret Sin.”

“The Christian church, both Protestant and Catholic, is experiencing tremendous turmoil in the area of sexuality,” it began. “The problem seems epidemic.”

It sold barely enough copies to stay in print.

In 2005, the publisher changed the title to “Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction,” and Laaser added chapters on Internet porn. It has sold 75,000 copies.

In Laaser’s care, a patient will undergo psychiatric evaluation, just as he would in the secular world. Laaser wants to know if the patient has any symptoms of depression, ADHD or anxiety. He says many sex addicts suffer from other mental health issues.

“You may need to go to a meeting every day, or connect with a sponsor; you may need to check in with this office once a day,” he said. “Every client is different, but we’re essentially helping them establish boundaries and restrictions.”

Some secular therapists have warmed to this kind of approach.

“The deeply religious were a group that were hard to reach years ago because they had extreme shame connected with their addiction,” says Tim Lee, a licensed social worker in New York with a specialty in sex and porn addiction treatment.

But Lee and Pennsylvania sex therapist Dr. John Giugliano, both members of the Society for Sexual Advancement - a national nonprofit think tank of licensed sex therapists - worry that therapy can become overly focused on dogma and ignore the patient’s real-life issues.

“If you spend your time in session talking about what God thinks and what the Bible says, you don’t get to understand what the patient thinks and what happened in their life up to that point that explains why,” Giugliano says.

Even within the world of Christian therapy, some counselors criticize the methods of other religious counselors.

Richard Blankenship, the Atlanta-based Christian therapist, studied under Laaser in the early 2000s. When Blankenship set up his practice in Atlanta to treat sex addicts, he used the same name as Laaser’s ministry, “Faithful and True,” adding only the word “Atlanta.”

But Laaser wants to make it clear that he has no association with Blankenship’s practice and doesn’t agree with some aspects of Blankenship’s program.

Blankenship doesn’t rely enough on psychological expertise, Laaser says. Laaser objects to a therapist telling a patient that an addiction may be patterns repeated through generations, as Blankenship does. And Laaser disagrees with Blankenship’s habit of connecting a patient’s addiction to a biblical character’s family tree.

Abraham’s family tree

For the rest of his therapy session at Faithful and True, Michael circles emotions from a list that Richardson and Blankenship have provided. He circles “anxious” and then describes a fight he had with his wife about his infidelity.

Blankenship responds to Michael’s description of the fight by saying that addiction is generational, mentioning the Kennedys and the Fondas.

Then Blankenship queues up a PowerPoint presentation on a laptop, showing Michael a family tree he has designed around the biblical story of Abraham.

It has a lot of boxes. There are several pages.

Abraham, Blankenship says, was a guy who committed some sexual transgressions, like fathering a child with Hagar while his wife was barren. Ultimately, God forgave him.

Michael starts talking about his own family. He describes a difficult upbringing with a father whom he said was philandering and verbally abusive. He says sex wasn’t talked about at his house when he was growing up.

Before the session ends, Michael is assured that there’s no reason to think that he won’t kick his addiction. He’ll be on a new path, Blankenship says, toward “sexual integrity.”

The 90-minute session comes to a close with a prayer.

Blankenship and his co-counselor Mark Richardson lower their heads.

Richardson asks that God look after Michael. He asks God to bless this therapy process. Michael is heading out into the world, he says, heading back into a culture of temptation and lust and ungodly ways.

Look after him, the therapist says, keep him on the right path.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Church • Sex

soundoff (3,536 Responses)
  1. Miss Demeanor

    The church should start by keeping clergy off of kids. Keep all clergy 'members' behind their zippers.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  2. vampire8

    Gandhi said it best: I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. AMEN!!!!!! So Hermetic Mysticism anyone? Much more realistic than Christianity. And, if I want to look at nude people who do not mind being looked at or photographed, that is my right and freedom! What makes the Christians so self-righteous anyway? If they would truly follow the teachings of Christ, they would not be doing what they do!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  3. RRP

    Not if they get a big enough cut of the profits.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  4. Terry

    Not as long as your pastor is holding your son's hand.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:04 am |
  5. Rocky

    Christianity is good religion but also we should remember that Christianity can't answer many questions after certain level.
    I mean the questions like: why many persons born poor, physically challenged, not getting good food like those in Africa especially children..etc.
    Christianity is the religion for beginners.
    Karma is not firmly told in Christianity.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:17 am |
  6. NM

    No

    September 20, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  7. Dill Weed

    What you talking 'bout Willis?

    September 20, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  8. Seriously

    Jesse: You are totally right, Christians should practice what we preach. But also remember we are people and make mistakes too. We have to remember that we can repent and turn to God and turn away from things that are not Godly. We speak more by our actions than our words. I wish we had more people who said they were Christians and actually acted like it.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • myoleman

      Christianity in America is very superficial. It's mostly talk, and everybody's saved.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  9. Jesse

    What needs to happen overall is Christians NEED TO PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH. If a person truly believes in anything he/she will exercise action upon that faith. Example: I believe that this chair will hold me. WELL if i truly believe it then will i not exercise the full extent of my faith and finally sit in the darn chair? If i truly love my GF will i not cherish her and bring her places and get things for her? One can not see love nor faith nor air nor God yet does the visibility or invisibilty rather of these deny that they exist? Not at all in fact it is the results of these things that we know they exist. How do you know if a man is married to his wife? Because he carries the certificate of marriage around ( or a christian a bible?) or rather because the mans actions prove the exisistance of the love for his wife? In the same way christian should LOVE all and through that love and peace and chairty and giving and selflessness will people see that there is a motive behind all that love. And there is a vehicle in which many will come to understand the exisistence of God. Unfortunately Christians = Hypocrites. When Christians should = Love and Charitable giving of the glorious gosepl

    September 20, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • kme

      "What needs to happen overall is Christians NEED TO PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH."

      Please. God. No! They are bad enough when they successfully ignore all of the self-righteous nonsense they preach and attempt to just live their lives with common decency as the guide.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  10. Cody

    Has anyone thought of god as a "childrens tale"?As children we are told about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy the Easter Bunny and all that good sense.But as we get older we realise"wait...a chubby old jolly man makes toys for all the boys and girls in the world and delivers them all to them at night....That cant be true because first off you cant possibly do that in one night an reindeer cant fly."than it goes like this.Either you catch your parent taking your tooth and putting money under you or you realise"wait....a magical fairy takes my tooth and gives me money....no way"and of course our old pal the easter bunny.If you really think about it you see what im getting at.We are raised to believe in an all powerfull creator that loves us but never reveals himself and gives us everything we see around us...THINK just THINK how is that possible...Why do you think flying reindeer are impossible but and invisible ruler is all too real?Just use your head and reason with yourself.If you are intelligent and stop blindly running in the dark with bull-headed faith you will realise...there is no god.... Thank you for reading Cheers

    September 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Alex

      I can completely agree. But you have to understand why this tale persists even with age. It is fear. fear of the unknown of what happens when we die. The idea that we will get to reunite with our family members in some fluffy cloud palace is very appealing considering how long we are going to be dead. No one wants to think about once we die we are worm food. It is a very sobering thought. I am a atheist and you have to embrace death before you can start living. Sure it sucks that we have to die so we need to make the most of today. Thats one reason why i do not waste my time with religion those few minutes i could be on my knees talking to my ceiling to send me to heaven when i die i am using to live like i would die the next day. I am not saying that everyone should not believe in God. Just why I do not myself and pointing out why they do.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Jesse

      PLEASE!! PLEASE PLEASE!! do a little more research. I see the logic in your thinking but then go into depth and examine the facts for them selves. If God is truly fake then how do you justify the dozens of accounts by Chrsitain and secular source verifying the validity of Jesus and the Bible. For example people such as Josephus the Historian who in point was a secular historian in the 4th century i believe and verified the devout commitment of Christians to thier beliefs. And what of Tortullian and Polycarp who were alive during the 12 original disciples of Chrsit. They came only 40 to 60 years after Jesus couldnt they have gone and seen the body of Christ? UNLESS! Jesus's claims of divinity were true and he did ressurect. it goes beyond just people believing look at the facts seek and read history and the facts that verify the validity of Christ. BTW a highly recommended book is. "Evidence that demands a verdict" Josh Mcdowell. All im saying is look at the facts

      September 20, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • Seriously

      Cody: It's not about believing in Santa Claus or reindeers flying because as we got older we learned the truth of these things. This is about life and how were we created.
      Do you really think human life was just created by a puddle of goo that all of the sudden turned into a thinking/feeling person. Animals cannot think and communicate as we do, we are created beings. What do you believe, Evolution, Big Bang Theory. How can you prove them? You can't prove how life came into being but you refuse to believe in a higher power. Think Man, think, we did not just come to be out of nowhere.
      And remember that someday you will die and meet your maker. Maybe then you can tell him you don't believe in him but by then you will be crying for mercy. Sorry but I hope you at least do research on your own to what faith is all about before you just throw it in the same pile as the tooth fairy. Seems rather juvenile if you ask me!

      September 20, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  11. Concerned-reader

    People writing in these comments are RIDICULOUS! ITS A BOOK. You are all the same people who complained that Muslims shouldn't be mad about Mohammed being drawn - ITS JUST A PICTURE.. right!?! Seriously stop being intolerant about everything and chill out. Its a book with words you hold holy thats fine, but to everyone else who doesnt share those beliefs - its a book. Same as Mohammad - its a profit who shouldnt be idolized (aka drawn) - but to everyone else its a person. Seriously.. this is sad.

    September 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Tony Bennett

      If you believe that it's only a book then you must understand that those that believe by faith that it is the Holy Word of God should have a right to their oppinion as well. It's more about faith. As far as drawings of Mohammad, the bible teaches that one shouldn't worship idols. How's you thought about the so called All Mighty Dollar. By faith you get up everyday (unless you don't have a Job) trying to get it; and by faith many hold these true-isms in the same light. We should all learn to be tolerent towards each other and their belief and faith...

      September 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Esteban

      Can you imagine the outcry if the Playboy were sitting on top of a Nora Roberts or David Baldachi book (insert your favorite book or author)? People would definitely be up in arms.

      So it is not wrong for a believer to be upset about this. I believe there are greater things to be worried about, but your argument is not valid.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  12. MAD CHRISTIAN!

    CNN is owned by the Jews and most workers are Jews. Why attack Christianity and not ever Judaism?! Put TORAH on the picture instead of the bible – let's see what people will say!!!!!

    September 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • snow

      Oh so you are OK about it as long as it does not offend YOUR religion? Conceded much??

      September 16, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • Kerry Berger

      MadChristian - you are an evil person who is a racist and your comments are offensive to others.

      September 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Leonard

      I,'m jewish, what's your point? That jew are better than christians,well that may be true.But that's not what the article was about.It was about christians who are in consoling for personal problems with a christian therapists.

      September 18, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • markjuliansmith

      Even if the whole place was run by Jews does that make any assertion made by them invalid. Is'nt the point if the argument is correct or not? Clearly there are some sites run by Christians so therefore their arguments are invalid?

      September 19, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • haden17

      This is about men hating and objectifying women. It is encouraged at the basis of every religion and has NOTHING to do with who has the better god. God is a rapist and men have been following the lead of that deity and many others since the beginning of time. We are naive if we look to religion to stop the exploitation of women. The exploitation of women will stop when women say, "Enough!" and stop allowing our degradation in the name of patriarchal pleasure.

      September 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Tony Bennett

      Christianity was not the reglion of Jesus Christ. Nor do you read anywhere in the Bible about it.God's promise was to the Jews and through Jesus Christ given to all mankind. The Torah is only the basis of Moses Law (Old Testiment). The New Testiment is the word of God from Jesus and those that walked with him. Christianity, was started by Paul, after he was delivered by Christ on the road to Damascus. Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian. I understand how you feel about this issue, the book Protocols of the Elders of Zion, speaks about how the Jews run the world from the back seat, but just like in the Old Testiment many failed God, but His promise was to them and He will return to them first and we will walk with Him and them. The Bible has been translated many times over. When religon, not truly God's word doesnt suit the masses they translate it differently. But the Word stands TURE!!! King James did it, he had Shakspear and other re-write it to his liking, but again the Word stands TRUE. By faith the Word must be rightly divided, read 2 Timothy for more...

      September 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • dmjk

      UUUH, YEA HE'S NOT SAYING jEWS ARE better than anyone- because they're not. NO ONE PERSON IS BETTER THAN THE NEXT.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Jesse

      Ya need to relax. Im a devout christian and if you are you should know by now that Christ said his followers would be disowned by the world

      September 20, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Hoovervilles

      @MAD CHRISTIAN

      Oh, Oh. This was so well thought out and with impressively impeccable logic. How did you manage to put this together?

      Oh, I know. You must have received you degree in logic from the Rush Limbaugh s-k-r-e-w-a-l(1) of logic. His inst-i-tute of illogic is a truly great place to get an edjumacayshun.

      (1) N.B.: The term s-k-r-e-w-a-l is NOT MINE; it belongs to Rush! It is part of Rush’s own vocabulary and I’m sure he is very proud of it. He must be as he uses it so much on his (E)xcellence (I)n (B)uffoonery radio show.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
  13. Upon this rock

    The Church is not here to wipe out sin or make people "religious. It is here to show the way to escape if you choose.
    Sin has been here since day one, sin will be here on the day Christ returns. 'You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall
    set you free" (Jesus) Not men. Truth.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • Anotheratheist

      Pretty stupid practice..but amusing. I feel sorry for the "Believers" who just rant dogma without logic or reason..

      September 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • Jessy

      @ Anotheratheist

      This is why I'm Gnostic. I don't need no stinking church nor lame dogma to tell me how to live or be closer to God. And yes, even though I believe in God, I too view the church as nothing more than a tool of controlling the masses. Salvation through be through knowing one's self and understanding the world... not through some Bishop, Priest or Deacon.

      September 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • josh

      at jessy, how can you be agnostic if you believe in god? that just doesn't make any sense.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  14. AngryAmerican

    Big surprise guys, the person who wrote this article was JEWISH. How many more blatant attacks on Christianity before we say enough is enough?

    September 15, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • asdf

      Yep those dirty jews killed christ and poison wells. We need another Inquistion to weed out the unfaithful.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • papalamepimelos

      Honestly, it wasn't my fault! The devil made me do it!

      ....

      September 16, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Leonard

      At least a million.it is fun to poke christians who for the most part post nutty posts.

      September 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Tony Bennett

      Christianity, Judaism, we tend to worry to much about them both, seeing that are both one in the same only the New Testiment differs!!1

      September 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  15. CalgarySandy

    Christians have been sending out missionaries and destroying indigenous cultures for a long long time. Jesus told his followers to be fishers of men. He also told them to leave people alone who are not interested and he told them not to pray loudly in public. Clearly, this part did not get into the dogma. I am not sure about Islam. No other religion does this. Jews do not want anyone to convert because their religion is tied to having Jewish blood. Buddhists and Taoists make themselves available but do not proselytize. So basically, the worst of the lot is Fundamentalist Churches. In Canada, the United and Anglican Churches have apologized to the Natives for what they did to their culture and their children. But then, neither is Fundamentalist.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  16. John

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6HstbCWRoo&w=640&h=360]

    September 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  17. RainMaker

    The picture above is not a good good idea. We should not take the Bible so casually that ,putting a playboy magazine on top of the Bible just for the article cover, is not even a big deal. Respect the Holy Book please. Be creative in a way that your power of desire should not overshadow your power of reason. No wonder Churches are being converted into Mosques all the time.

    September 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • RainMaker

      I am a Muslims and I respect the Bible. Even though I believe it is not it its original form. But it is a reference point for my Christian Brothers to gain closeness to God... and I respect that. I respect anyone, regarldess of your faith (even an athiest) who is struggling to move to a higher level of character and morality.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Azathoth

      We really should have more pictures like above. Treating a book like a book so casually helps us remember that it is just a book. No more respect for anyone's imaginary friends please.

      September 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • RainMaker

      @Azathoth. Have respect for others' religion. I know i was born in a third world country. You can atleast pretent like you weren't. Becaue to me u.s is the greatest imaginary developed country.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • CalgarySandy

      It isn't casual. And it is not the book that is sacred it is the content/meaning that is said to be sacred by those who do not understand how it was put together. If you worship the book then you are a not a spiritual person, If you worship your dogma you are not a spiritual person. The only real focus for devotion is God Itself.

      September 15, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • AngryAmerican

      Seriously....Can you imagine the uproar if this was done with the torah? But right, it's ok to attack Christians and Christianity. All I know is articles like these are making a lot of people AWAKEN to what's REALLY going on.

      September 15, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Esteban

      @Angry,

      What a great point. If this article had the Playboy sitting in the Muslim version of the Bible or it showed a Muslim man looking at it, Americans would be crying about how insensitive it is...

      But, the way it positioned, gives people a reason to vent about their unbelief.

      Ironic and very American/Western World.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  18. childintime

    how great that we can invent problems when we don't have them.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  19. Mark

    Beliefs are the problem no the solution. They are like DNA or fingerprints. Everyone's is unique and they can get you into real trouble if you're not careful.

    September 15, 2011 at 9:28 am |
  20. Karen Palen

    Science flies you to the MOON, Religion flies you into buildings!

    September 15, 2011 at 3:37 am |
    • *frank*

      p0rn flies you to heaven

      September 15, 2011 at 3:50 am |
    • Esteban

      Believing in God will lead you past the Moon and into your soul. For some of us, what lies in our soul is scary and we do not want to see it....

      September 15, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • snow

      Well then Esteban, why don't you dwell into your soul and take up a cave to live in? why do you work and eat and do other things? Why not just give up your material possessions and wealth in the name of god?

      September 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Tony Bennett

      But man has never made it to the moon!! If you go on that as faith (in mankind) how could you not on reglion, no matter which one. They all believe in a Savior, Messiah and One God!!

      September 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.